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Reason Behind the Dubai Flood

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) and the neighbouring country of Oman were hit by a severe storm this week, bringing record rainfall that caused widespread flooding. The downpour inundated highways, and houses, and trapped people in their homes, leading to at least 20 deaths in Oman and one fatality in the UAE.

In the UAE city of Al Ain, a staggering 254 millimetres (10 inches) of rain fell within 24 hours, the highest amount recorded since 1949. Such heavy precipitation is highly unusual in this desert climate region, known for its scorching summer temperatures exceeding 50 degrees Celsius.

Cloud Seeding: Not the Culprit

Amidst the chaos, questions arose about whether the UAE’s practice of cloud seeding – a technique used to increase rainfall by implanting chemicals into clouds – could have contributed to the storm’s intensity. However, the UAE’s meteorology agency dismissed this notion, stating that no such operations took place before the storm hit.

Climate Change: The Likely Cause

Instead, experts attribute the extreme weather event to a combination of normal weather patterns and the global warming caused by climate change. A low-pressure system, coupled with contrasting temperatures at different atmospheric levels, created the perfect conditions for the powerful thunderstorm.

Climate scientists warn that rising global temperatures are leading to more intense rainfall and severe weather events worldwide. As the atmosphere warms, it can hold more moisture, resulting in heavier downpours.

A Wake-up Call for Preparedness

While cloud seeding cannot create clouds from nothing, the warm temperatures in the Arabian Gulf have increased evaporation rates and the atmosphere’s capacity to hold water vapor, setting the stage for such extreme rainfall events.

This incident serves as a wake-up call for the region to enhance its drainage systems and preparedness measures to cope with the escalating impacts of climate change. As extreme rainfall events become more frequent, countries like the UAE and Oman must adapt to protect their citizens and infrastructure from the consequences of a rapidly changing climate.

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